Life-long learning is not hard to find.
With the phenomenal growth of the technical communication field, you don't have to go far to find courses to brush up and add to your skills. British Columbia, home of Canada West Coast Chapter, is a hot bed of technical communication, as reflected in the changes in curriculum at established and new institutions. Check out your options...
BC Institute of Technology
Burnaby and Downtown campuses. Information: 604-434-1610
Launched in January, 2005, BCIT’s for-credit Associate Certificate in Technical Writing is a part-time, evening program. All instructors are industry experts still active in the field and vetted for their teaching ability, not just the excellence and currency of their knowledge. Courses include:
- Technical Writing Style
- Technical Editing and Grammar
- Technical Writing: Definitions, Instructions and Process Descriptions
- Documentation Project Management
- Technical Documentation Graphics
- Writing for the Web
- Designing and Writing Online Help
- Writing & Testing Software Manuals
- Single-Sourcing for Technical Writers, and
- Industry Project for Technical Writers
BCIT also offers courses that freelancers may find helpful: Proposals-Selling Ideas; Exciting Presentations; Time Management and Productivity Skills; Small Business Law; and Marketing of Services. For those of you who want to upgrade skills in desktop publishing, BCIT offers courses at various levels, PC or Macintosh, for PageMaker, Adobe Illustrator, Quark Xpress, Adobe PhotoShop, and CorelDraw. They also offer basic design and production courses such as Graphics 1 and 2, and Media Techniques for Business. Multimedia Authoring and Internet Advanced courses are also available to keep you challenged.
For more information, visit:
North Vancouver. Call Extension Programs, 604.984-1727.
Communication practices, strategies, and media are central to social and professional life, providing a foundation for the negotiation of workplace and interpersonal situations and for the development of meaningful social relationships. The School of Communication believes that the nature of communication calls for combined attention to professional practice and critical study in order to enhance students’ ability to both engage in and reflect upon communication and its wider cultural and social contexts. To this end, we offer courses in professional writing and speech, interpersonal communications, and the critical analysis of communication industries, media and messages.
The School of Communication faculty believe that clear writing and speech require both clear thinking and sound choice of words appropriate to the occasion and the audience. We believe that to write and speak well, one must read and listen well. We also believe that communication has a context, and that a critical, informed view of communication can foster the best of communications practice. We promote this philosophy in our coursework, in our internal communications, and in the information we give the public.
Our mission is to educate students about critical perspectives and practical strategies in communications that will help them make informed choices and achieve their academic, personal, and career goals. Our students come from diverse backgrounds, work in diverse media, and pursue diverse careers. We strive to recognize this diversity in our teaching and provide a framework for learning which respects the changing contexts in which communication occurs. We succeed when our students succeed — by writing, speaking, and thinking well in the classroom, in the workplace, in the world.
Courses in the School of Communication present students with opportunities for the development of a wide array of knowledge and skills - ranging from critical engagement with media messages and technologies, to the practice of public relations and cultural journalism, from the study of the development of popular culture to foundational skills in professional writing, editing, and presentations.
Many communications courses carry credit as electives in academic and business programs. The writing practice and experience in presentations help students excel in other courses. As well, the writing assignments often help students obtain jobs both in the summer between academic sessions, and after they graduate.
Communications also designs and delivers courses tailored to the needs of various career programs. Among the programs we serve are Business Administration, Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management, Legal Administrative Assistant, and Early Childhood Care and Education.
In addition, we offer a number of “open” courses to equip students with general skills, from basic writing to freelance journalism.
Douglas College Print Futures Program
New Westminster. Call 604.527-5292.
Home of the well-respected, full-time professional writing program called Print Futures, Douglas College has bowed to increasing demand and opened up most of the course to part-time students. However, be warned, student intake for part-time courses is six months prior to the term and courses are available only from September to April each year.
For links to courses and programs abroad, see Courses section on the Canadian Issues SIG web site.
Vancouver. Call Continuing Education at 604.323-5322.
The two-year journalism program at Langara is well-respected and now offers some courses on a part-time basis.
Post Secondary Application Service
For links to all of British Columbia’s publicly funded post-secondary institutions, see the Post-Secondary Application Service web site.
Simon Fraser University (SFU)
Harbour Centre, Vancouver. To get on the mailing list for catalogues, call 604.291-5093, 604.291-5077 or 604.291-5073.
In addition to the well-established non-credit certificate programs in Technical Writing, Business Writing, and Publishing, SFU offers courses that can help you expand your abilities in writing, editing, design and print production. See the Writing & Publishing Program and the Technical Writing Program.
SFU also offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in information technology and interactive arts at their Surrey Campus.
University of British Columbia (UBC)
Vancouver. Call Continuing Studies, non-credit, 604.822-1444.
UBC offers a plethora of choices in Computer Science; you can learn about software for various platforms, at differing levels and for a wide range of prices. Check out course offerings in Web Development, Word Processing, Database Applications, Integrated Software, Spreadsheets, Statistics, Project Planning, Desktop Publishing, Graphics, Presentation, CD-ROM Production, Digital Imaging and Audio, Digital Video and Animation, Authoring, Networks, Operating Systems, and much more.
Multimedia Studies Program
Multimedia and Web Development
University of Victoria
Victoria. Call the Department of Writing at 250.721.7306
The Professional Writing Program at the University of Victoria is jointly offered by the Department of English and the Department of Writing. All Professional Writing Students are advised to apply to the Arts and Writing Co-op to obtain on-the-job experience. The goal of the program is to develop skills required to succeed as a professional writer in business, industry, government, journalism and publishing.
Vancouver Community College
Vancouver. Call 604.443-8668.
Business and Technical Writing Certificate Program
Clear and concise writing can work for you! Learn to sell your ideas and present information in a variety of written forms. Technical communication requires special skills. Today’s professionals spend more of their time producing written documentation. Courses will be of interest to those in diverse fields, including science, health, technology and all business occupations. Assignments are designed to build your professional portfolio.
This progam consists of nine, one day courses. Participants may register for courses individually. Courses offered on Saturdays on a rotating basis.
Course Advisor: Jennifer Gossen, 604.443.8670
Program Assistant: Crystal Kreschuk, 604.443.8711
Vancouver Film School
Vancouver. Call 604.685-5808
The Vancouver Film School is a private school offering a wide range of courses in multimedia and animation; many are available part time.
Writing for film, TV, and interactive media
Vancouver Island University
Powell River. Call 877.888-8890 (toll free).
Technical Communication Certificate (Online) - Almost every product comes with documentation produced by technical writers. Get started on this in-demand career path with our new non-credit Technical Communication Certificate Program conducted completely online. Each course runs for six weeks. Prerequisites: Computer Basics or equivalent skills, internet and email access, complete a free “orientation to Online Learning” prior to the course.
Course discount ($25 off) for current STC members.